I don't think they changed Les at all actually
It is Signing Day 2013, and if you weren't aware, Michigan has a pretty, pretty good class. With this post—and its accompanying defense post (coming tomorrow)—I'll attempt to give you a solid overview of the class, its strengths and weaknesses, and hand out a few superlatives. Let's start with a look at the offensive class as a whole and their final rankings from the recruiting services—click on each player's name to see their commitment post:
And now, some specifics:
BEST POSITION GROUP: Offensive Line.
This offensive line class is arguably the best in the country, finding strength both in numbers (six) and quality (five of the six are consensus four-stars or above and made All-American teams). As Michigan continues to fill in the holes left by some disastrous offensive line recruiting under Rich Rodriguez, this couldn't have come at a better time.
Among the group, guard Kyle Bosch is the most likely to crack the two-deep early; he's on campus early and has college-ready size—Michigan lists him at 6'5", 311 lbs.—to go with a polished set of skills. He won't start right away (let's hope) but could factor in as a backup. Center Patrick Kugler—the son of longtime NFL OL coach and current UTEP head coach Sean Kugler—might be the best of the bunch, though. He'll hit campus as the most physically gifted Wolverine at the position, and while he shouldn't be forced to play right away, he should be a multi-year starter down the road.
Honorable Mention: Running Back, Quarterback.
BIGGEST WEAKNESS: No elite receiver
Yes, this class lacks a blue-chip wideout. Csont'e York and Jaron Dukes are both big targets who can go up and get the ball, while Da'Mario Jones could be a playmaker in the slot, but none are can't-miss prospects. This issue is mitigated somewhat by Michigan's strong recruiting at tight end—get a couple playmakers there and the pressure comes off the receivers in the passing game—but you'd still like to see a top-flight guy on the outside.
Honorable Mention: The only other issue with the offensive side of the class is the lack of a second quarterback for depth purposes, something the coaches decided wasn't necessary. Otherwise, every need was filled.
MOST LIKELY TO START FROM DAY ONE: Derrick Green
Not only is Green the top-ranked recruit in the class, but he comes in at a position of great uncertainty and, as of late, middling production. He's got the body of an NFL running back as a high school senior and is a perfect fit for Al Borges's ideal offense. It's unknown whether Fitz Toussaint will be ready to start the season after his ugly leg injury and his production was lacking in 2012 anyway; Thomas Rawls failed to impress in his stead. Green's toughest competition for the bulk of the carries may even come from fellow 2013 commit DeVeon Smith, arguably the best back in the state of Ohio. Either way, expect a freshman (or two) to make a big impact in the backfield next season.
Honorable Mention: DeVeon Smith, Jake Butt
SUREST THING: Patrick Kugler
Covered in part above, Kugler is as close as you'll get to a can't-miss offensive line recruit. At 6'5", 280 lbs. before setting foot on campus, he's got better size than any Michigan center of recent vintage. His father spent nine years coaching offensive line in the NFL, and Patrick's film makes it apparent that he's absorbed a lot of his father's teaching—from a technical standpoint, he's very advanced for his age. He participated in the Under Armour AA Game and held up very well against some of the best defensive linemen in the country.
Kugler's only competition at center right now is Jack Miller, who's been groomed to take over the position for a couple years but was too undersized to see the field as a redshirt freshman in 2012. Miller should step in and start in 2013—it's unrealistic to expect Kugler to have enough command of the offense to make the O-line calls after a few weeks on campus—but it's going to be hard to keep Kugler off the field in 2014 and beyond.
Honorable Mention: Derrick Green, Kyle Bosch
BOOM OR BUST: Logan Tuley-Tillman
Offensive lineman Logan Tuley-Tillman has the prototypical left tackle frame at 6'7", 307 pounds. He's also a relative newcomer to the game of football and spent his high school days overpowering opponents with sheer size and strength—as a result, he's got a long way to go from a technical standpoint. At last summer's Sound Mind Sound Body camp, Tuley-Tillman and David Dawson both got extensive work in with Michigan OL coach Darrell Funk—Funk used Dawson as an example for how to execute certain technical aspects of line play, then spent a good deal of time trying to get Tuley-Tillman to that level.
If Tuley-Tillman can put it all together, he's the future at left tackle and could even develop into an NFL prospect. With so much ground to cover, however, he could also get buried on the depth chart by more polished players. It should help that Tuley-Tillman is already on campus—with a redshirt year all but guaranteed, he'll have plenty of time to work on the fundamentals before worrying about seeing the field.
Honorable Mention: Shane Morris, Chris Fox
MGOSCOUTED STAMP OF APPROVAL: Jake Butt
Among the players I checked out last fall—on offense: Morris, Shallman, York, Dawson, Butt, and Hill—tight end Jake Butt really stood out with his performance on the field. Playing against cross-town rival Pickerington Central—featuring fellow Wolverine Taco Charlton—he hauled in nine catches for 93 yards and a TD while also making an impact at defensive end. Some of my impressions from that game:
Butt did a great job of snatching the ball away from his body and caught everything thrown his way. While he could be a little sharper out of his breaks, he runs crisp routes and positions his body well to give his quarterback a big target while warding off the defender. He was able to find space up the seam on multiple occasions but was also comfortable working on the perimeter, at one point catching back-to-back out routes when Central cheated to the inside in coverage. He's not going to juke past too many defenders after the catch, but he usually finds a way to fall forward for extra yardage.
At 6'6", 235 lbs., Butt has an ideal frame for the position, and his blocking really impressed me as well. He's another early enrollee, and I'd be surprised if he took a redshirt—he may not start from day one, but he's a better blocker than Devin Funchess and could give Michigan a scary one-two combo at tight end/H-back.
Honorable Mention: David Dawson, Shane Morris
THE SHANE MORRIS CATEGORY: Shane Morris
An overview of Michigan's 2013 class is incomplete without mentioning the team's quarterback of the future. Morris dropped from five-star status on Rivals and 247 after a senior season marred by mono and an uneven performance at the Under Armour AA Game, but he still has the highest ceiling of any of Michigan's commits.
The first thing that stands out about Morris is his arm strength—the ball explodes out of his hand with seemingly little effort. When he's on, it's a sight to behold. The problem—and ultimately why he dropped in the rankings—is that he's yet to show consistency; he still needs work reading defenses and relies too heavily on his arm strength to fit the ball into windows that sometimes aren't there.
Those expecting Morris to come in and take the starting job need to temper their expectations severely—the job is Devin Gardner's, and barring injury it'll stay that way. Morris could very well come in and earn the backup job over Russell Bellomy, however, and with a couple years of development he could be special.
Honorable Mention: Shane Morris
SLEEPER: Da'Mario Jones
Michigan snatched WR Da'Mario Jones, a Westland John Glenn product, away from Central Michigan, so he certainly flew under the radar for the bulk of the recruiting cycle. That may have been the product of playing in a league that doesn't get much exposure, however—Allen Trieu reported($) that UCLA, Alabama, Florida State, Michigan State, and Georgia all came to see him last week, though no offers came when he made it clear he was ticketed for Ann Arbor.
While the other two receivers in the class, Csont'e York and Jaron Dukes, are big guys who were on the receiving end of a lot of jump balls in high school, Jones is a guy who's shown his ability to work underneath and break big plays after the catch. With Drew Dileo and Jeremy Gallon back in 2013, he may not see the field right away, but down the road there's a clear role he can fill in the slot—a position that, granted, may be marginalized by the increased emphasis on tight ends—and nobody else on the roster who fits that mold after next season.
Honorable Mention: Wyatt Shallman, Khalid Hill
Today's recruiting roundup discusses last weekend's high school football action, the latest on Leon McQuay III, and the inspiring story of David Dawson.
Warning: Dust Storm Ahead
At Cass Tech's game against Detroit Renaissance a couple weeks ago, Technician lineman and Michigan commit David Dawson received his Under Armour All-American jersey in a halftime ceremony. As you can see above, it was an emotional moment for Dawson and his family, for reasons that went far beyond the football field; it's been a tumultuous year for Dawson, who lost his father in a car accident in April.
Your must-read article of today, then, is Mick McCabe's tear-jerker of a profile on Dawson—it's hard to imagine going through such a difficult situation as a high school senior:
"One day, a few days before the accident, I got in the car and he was staring at me for 5 minutes," Dawson said. "I asked him why he was staring at me. He said: 'I'm extremely proud of what you're doing now.' When I thought about that, it sent me into an emotional wreck."
When his father died, nothing seemed important to Dawson anymore. Not football, not school, not anything.
"He's still dealing with it," said his mother. "He's a little better. He's getting through it. I let him talk about it. If he has to cry, he cries; if he has to talk, he'll talk.["]
There's much more in the full article, from similarly heartbreaking reflections on Dawson's father to more lighthearted anecdotes about his football career. You root for every commit to excel at Michigan, of course, but you root extra hard for David Dawson.
[Commitment stat roundup and much more after THE JUMP.]
Chandler Park Academy wide receiver Csont'e York has largely flown under the radar during the recruiting process, and as a three-star he's one of Michigan's lesser-heralded commits. The Charter School Conference isn't heavily scouted, so I was curious to see how York performed over the course of a full game. On Friday, he caught two passes for 33 yards and a touchdown and added a two-point conversion as CPA fell in double overtime to Old Redford Academy, 26-20.
To discuss York's performance, it's best to add some context. This was lower-division football, and it showed; I lost count of pre-snap procedure penalties when they hit double-digits, both teams put the ball on the ground, officials missed spots by ten yards, and quarterback play was... not stellar. Chandler Park's strategy also left something to be desired—despite having York, the lone BCS-level prospect on the field, facing corners eight inches shorter than him, CPA only targeted him five times during the game, three of those coming on the same drive at the goal line.
As a result, York spent much of the game run-blocking, acting as a decoy, or running routes downfield without much hope of seeing the ball. These highlights reflect that, and trust me, I could've added a solid five minutes of York jogging downfield to this reel. York is easy to spot—he's the one with the maize arm sleeve, maize gloves, maize shoelaces, maize stripes on his socks, and maize mouthguard:
[Hit THE JUMP for the full scouting report and photo gallery.]
Today's recruiting roundup covers last weekend's high school action, bids farewell to a couple wide receiver targets, and looks forward to a big visit weekend for... basketball?
Get That Man A Square-Toed Shoe
Michigan commits Jaron Dukes (Marion-Franklin) and Taco Charlton (Pickerington Central) faced off against each other this past weekend; Central came away with a 45-24 victory, and MGoUser Dubs was there to take in the action. If you're looking to submit a scouting report for Future Blue Originals, this is how it's done:
DE/LB Taco Charlton, 2013: Despite Marion-Frankin running away from Taco (about 80% of the time), he managed to rack up 8 tackles, and a tackle for loss (zero sacks). It was about 50/50 as to whether he had his hand down as a DE, or whether he was lined up as an OLB. Pickerington Central did show multiple fronts, ranging from a 3-3-5(!), 3-4, and a 4-3 (with Taco as DE). He even saw around 5 snaps on offense, and caught a nice PA-pass for a 15 yard touchdown in the 3rd quarter. He did leave early in the 4th quarter after an apparent shoulder injury (possibly a stinger). But after being checked with a trainer, Taco was out there after a couple of plays, only to be banned to the sideline for the rest of the game after the game was well in hand. Pickerington Central won 45-24.
As far as the "eyeball test," I must admit I was a little disappointed at Taco's lack of aggression. There were moments when a sure passing down approached, and I expected to see that pass-rushing prowess we all read about in 7 on 7's this summer, but I did not see it. The tackle guarding him was very large (some may say "fat," but I don't want to personally attack a kid), and VERY slow, so I was expecting Taco to beat him off the line, lower his shoulder, and destroy the QB. Instead, he relied more on his inside spin more than anything. I will suspect that perhaps, it was because the QB was a very good athlete, Taco was in charge of contain more than anything. Marion-Franklin sent a back to chip Taco's outside pass-rush, as well, which also would limit his opportunities. However, I feel there were times where Taco could have taken over the game but did not. I do not know if it is a motor issue, or the coaches playing him conservatively against a dual threat QB.
WR Jaron Dukes, 2013: It was very difficult for Dukes to get involved, mostly because the Marion-Franklin QB relied more on his feet than anything. The throws the QB did make were hitches, outs, slants, and screens of all sorts. That being said, Dukes still managed to haul in 5 passes (out of 8 targets) for about 42 yards. He was targeted for a TD jump-ball thrown to him early in the 1st quarter, in which he had a height advantage of at least 6 inches over the opposing defender, however, the ball was vastly under-thrown, and was broken up. Dukes also dropped a possible TD pass (at least a very large gain) during the hurry-up in the waning seconds of the 2nd. Dukes also handled the kickoff duties, which, if Michigan is looking for some sort of "Tom Dempsey style" kicker/WR hybrid, they got their man.
As far as the eyeball test goes, Dukes did not seem to show a lot of explosiveness, either off the line or to create separation against the defenders (it was kind of a soggy/muggy night, so the field may have been less-than-pristine). There were many times in which the QB was scrambling and, rather than hit that extra gear, he seemed to simply jog. Perhaps he is not used to getting much "love," as most of the passing offense derived from the slot receivers (which if true, why not put Dukes in slot?). I will say this, he did look strong after the catch, breaking a few arm tackles and showing of a pretty solid stiff-arm.
Overall, I felt that these two looked the part of a D-1 prospect. However, it is hard to tell their true potential based on their supporting cast: obviously you'll run away from Taco because his supporting DE looked half his size. And it's hard to get any love as an outside receiver when your QB cannot make the throws. So, I had to remind myself: these kids are prospects. And with that, I have great faith in the Michigan coaches that they can mold these kids into serviceable players or, hopefully, even stars.
A huge thanks to Dubs for sending this in, as well as bringing up the possibility of a Michigan wide receiver also handling kicks "Tom Dempsey style."
[Hit THE JUMP for the full recruiting roundup, including info on what could be a huge visit weekend for the basketball program.]
Today's recruiting roundup is football. Football!
After going to five games in two days over the weekend, I can officially declare it to be football season, not that I'm in a position to declare such things. But seriously: football is here, and a bunch of future Wolverines are playing it. This is not quite as exciting as current Wolverines taking the field on Saturday, but it's exciting nonetheless.
I'll have much, more more coming tomorrow, but Shane Morris opened his senior season in the shadow of the Big House at Ann Arbor Pioneer. After struggling early, throwing a pick on his first pass and starting just 2-for-9, he bounced back to finish 14-for-26 for 177 yards and two touchdowns, numbers that could've been better if not for several drops. He'll have to work on starting as strong as he finishes; he still looks like a five-star prospect. My brother and roommate each saw Morris for the first time on Friday, and all it took was one effortless launch of the football in warmups to convince them both that the hype is warranted. Morris makes throwing a football 60 yards look as easy and routine as brushing your teeth.
Cass Tech's tilt with Brother Rice—when not interrupted by shooting scares, again more on which tomorrow—was a classic battle that went down to the wire. The Technicians pulled out a 25-18 victory thanks to two Damon Webb touchdown catches—one on an end-around pass by Jourdan Lewis(!)—and a late 74-yard touchdown run by junior Gary Hosey. Lewis had an uneven performance at corner but had a big punt return on the only time Brother Rice didn't actively avoid him. David Dawson gave his usual stellar effort at left tackle, paving the way for big rushing efforts from Hosey and Deon Drake.
In the other game I saw this weekend featuring a Michigan commit, Khalid Hill caught three passes for 83 yards and a touchdown—coming on an impressive 65-yard catch-and-run—but it wasn't quite enough to lead East Lake Village over Oak Park. Hill looked impressive in the passing game but left a lot to be desired as a run blocker.
[After the jump, more football(!)]
Future Blue Originals return this fall—holy crap, return in less than two weeks—as I'll once again be driving around the Midwest to scout Michigan's commits and targets. I'll be enlisting the help of Heiko and Eric to improve the quality of the video and photos, which should also allow for more detailed scouting reports, and I'm hoping to cover even more games than last year.
Below you'll find the schedules for Michigan's in-state commits as well as one high-profile 2014 target. Unlike last year, when the Wolverines had a couple of Toledo-area commits, I'll probably focus entirely on these prospects unless something changes; luckily, there are plenty of intriguing games to check out. If you have any corrections—or, even better, plan on scouting one of these games yourself—please let me know in the comments or shoot me an email.
Cass Technical School
|Detroit Cass Tech 2012|
|8-25||7:30 PM||Birm. Brother Rice (@Wayne State)|
|8-31||4 PM||Detroit Northwestern|
|9-7||7 PM||Detroit Renaissance|
|9-14||4 PM||@ Detroit Cody|
|9-21||7 PM||@ Orchard Lake St. Mary's|
|9-28||4 PM||Detroit Ford|
|10-5||4 PM||@ Detroit Mumford|
David Dawson (2013 commit)
HS Position: Offensive tackle
Projects as: Offensive guard
Jourdan Lewis (2013 commit)
HS Position: Wide Receiver/Cornerback
Projects as: Cornerback
Damon Webb (2014 Prospect)
HS Position: Wide Receiver/Cornerback
Projects as: Cornerback
Deon Drake (2014 Prospect)
HS Position: Running Back/Outside Linebacker
Projects as: Outside Linebacker
Gary Hosey (2014 Prospect)
HS Position: Running Back/Middle Linebacker
Projects as: Running Back
Last season Cass Tech, led by Michigan commits Royce Jenkins-Stone and Terry Richardson, rebounded from an ugly opening-week loss to Farmington Hills Harrison to capture the Division 1 state title over Detroit Catholic Central. Michigan's favorite pipeline school has the ability to repeat that success this season, boasting another pair of Wolverine commits—OL David Dawson and WR/CB Jourdan Lewis—and several other BCS-level prospects.
One of the up-and-coming prospects to already hit Michigan's radar is junior corner Damon Webb, who had a breakout summer on the camp circuit and appears to be the next in line in Cass Tech's four-star cornerback parade. Classmate Deon Drake has already attracted attention from several Big Ten schools at linebacker, and Michigan is recruiting fellow RB/LB Gary Hosey as a big running back. Sophomore quarterback Jayru Campbell already has offers from Alabama and Notre Dame and will look to add Michigan to the mix this fall.
I'll probably attend at least two Cass Tech games this fall, and I'll definitely be at their opener against last year's Division 2 champ, Birmingham Brother Rice. Given Cass Tech's near-guaranteed presence in the state playoffs, I might save my second or third trip for then, though the MHSAA is notoriously stingy about filming at those games.
Detroit Catholic Central
|Detroit Catholic Central 2012|
|8-24||7 PM||Detroit Cody|
|8-31||7 PM||@ Toledo Whitmer|
|9-8||2 PM||Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller|
|9-23||1 PM||De La Salle|
|9-29||1 PM||@ U-D Jesuit|
|10-6||7 PM||Brother Rice (@Berkley, MI)|
|10-12||7PM||@ Orchard Lake St. Mary's|
Wyatt Shallman (2013 Commit)
HS Position: Running Back/Defensive End
Projects as: Running Back
The Shamrocks fell just short of the state title last season, and this year they'll have to replace the production and leadership of incoming Michigan freshman Matt Godin, who starred on both lines. They'll navigate one of the tougher schedules in the state, both in non-conference—Whitmer and Moeller are two powerhouse Ohio programs—and conference play.
Wyatt Shallman will be the main focus from my end, of course. Shallman performed admirably as a junior while struggling with a hamstring injury, so I'm very curious to see how much that affected him—especially running the football—now that he's healthy. Michigan is bringing him in as a running back, but I'll also get to see him at defensive end; he could wind up there in college if running back doesn't work out.
DCC's schedule provides some difficulties because several of their games—including marquee matchups against Moeller and Brother Rice—fall on Saturdays. A Sunday tilt against Shane Morris and De La Salle, however, beckons.
De La Salle Collegiate
|De La Salle 2012|
|8-24||7 PM||@ Ann Arbor Pioneer|
|9-1||3 PM||@ Cleveland St. Ignatius|
|9-8||7 PM||Dearborn Fordson (@Lake Shore)|
|9-15||7 PM||Brother Rice (@South Lake)|
|9-23||1 PM||@ Catholic Central|
|9-29||1 PM||Niagara (WI)|
|10-6||7 PM||Orchard Lake St. Mary's|
|10-12||7 PM||@ U-D Jesuit|
Shane Morris (2013 Commit)
HS Position: Quarterback
Projects as: Quarterback
Morris led De La Salle to a 9-3 record last season, with their final loss coming against Cass Tech in the state playoffs. Last year Morris was something of a one-man show for the Pilots; he'll get some help this year with the addition of wide receiver Jack Wangler—son of John—who's one of his favorite targets on the 7-on-7 circuit.
After attending just about every camp imaginable this summer, not to mention being heavily scouted for over a year, Morris is a relatively known commodity; as a result, he probably won't be my top priority when I'm picking games to scout. That said, his opening game is just down the road at Pioneer, a game I'll almost certainly check out. I'm also planning to see the Catholic Central game, giving me a couple chances to check up on Morris before the playoffs.
East English Village Prep
|East English Village Prep 2012|
|8-25||11 AM||Oak Park (@Wayne State)|
|8-31||7 PM||@ Detroit Martin Luther King|
|9-7||4 PM||Detroit Douglass|
|9-14||4 PM||@ Detroit Denby|
|9-21||4 PM||@ Detroit Southeastern|
|9-28||7 PM||Detroit Central|
|10-5||4 PM||Detroit Pershing|
Khalid Hill (2013 Commit)
HS Position: Tight End
Projects to: Tight End
Detroit Crockett and Detroit Finney have closed their doors and combined to form East English Village Prep—also known as "The Ville"—which plays its first season in the PSL this year. They'll feature Khalid Hill at tight end; given that Hill hasn't hit many camps and is one of the few commits not regarded as a solid four-star, I'll be curious to check him out in game action.
The Ville will play their first ever game at the Prep Kickoff Classic at Wayne State, an event I'll be covering closely. They play a number of games on Friday afternoons, as well, so I'll probably head to one other game for a doubleheader. If you have a preference of oppoenents between Douglass, Central, and Pershing, let me know in the comments.
Chandler Park Academy
Harper Woods, MI
|Chander Park Academy 2012|
|8-24||7 PM||@ New Philadelphia (OH)|
|8-31||7 PM||@ Summit Academy|
|9-14||7 PM||Old Redford Academy|
|9-21||7 PM||Bradford Academy|
|9-28||7 PM||Detroit University Prep|
|10-5||7 PM||Detroit PEC Prep|
|10-13||7 PM||@ Michigan Collegiate|
Csont'e York (2013 Commit)
HS Position: Wide Receiver
Projects to: Wide Receiver
Csont'e York is one of the biggest mysteries of this 2013 class, in no small part because he plays in one of Michigan's smaller divisions at Chandler Park Academy. The Eagles finished 9-3 last year, losing to Detroit Crockett in the opening round of the state playoffs.
York is a player I'd like to see twice given the lack of available information about him; he'll likely be the second half of a doubleheader after I go to see Hill. It looks like September 14th will be the day to do that. A return for the October 5th tilt against PEC Prep may also be in the cards.
|Chander Park Academy 2012|
|8-25||5 PM||Old Redford Academy|
|8-31||6 PM||Cranbrook Kingswood|
|9-8||1 PM||@ Allen Park Cabrini|
|9-14||6 PM||Riverview Richard|
|9-21||TBA||Dearborn Divine Child|
|9-28||7 PM||@ Bishop Foley (WI)|
|10-5||6 PM||Our Lady of the Lakes (@U-D Jesuit)|
|10-19||4 PM||@ DEPSA Early College|
Malik McDowell (2014 Prospect)
HS Position: Defensive End
Projects to: Defensive End
McDowell may very well be the state's top 2014 prospect and Michigan is right in the thick of his recruitment. Loyola suffered just one loss last season, falling to Hudson in the second round of the state playoffs, though like Chandler Park they have the advantage of playing against somewhat less than top-flight competition.
I'll certainly aim to see McDowell at least once this fall; depending on the time of the Dearborn Divine Child game, that's likely the one I'll end up scouting.
Make sure to check back Friday when I post the out of state schedules, and once again please email me if you plan on attending any games and submitting photos/video/scouting reports for the blog.